Whether you're crammed into a tram or inching your way through crosstown gridlock, getting to and from your office can often be the worst part of the work day. Now, a new study suggests that some commutes aren't worth the cost to your health.
According to a report published in the BMC Public Health journal, a team of Swedish researchers analysed a data set of roughly 21,000 commuters from the Scania provence — a quarter of whom relied on public transportation — and measured their sleep patterns, stress levels and feelings of general well-being against the length and type of their commute.
The team found evidence that those with a longer commute often experience worse quality sleep, more exhaustion, higher stress levels and decreased general health than those with shorter trips. Oddly, commuters that spent between 30-60 minutes on the road experienced more of these negative effects than commuters whose trip lasted less than a half or more than an hour. The researchers attribute this to the location of the study, wherein those with shorter commutes were typically travelling locally through busy, stress-inducing city streets while those with longer commutes were more likely to be driving through Sweden's "tranquil countryside".
The most striking result the team found was that, in order to offset the negative heal effects of a 45-minute commute, the average worker needed to earn about 20 per cent more.